Company FAQ

How to Get an Internship at Amazon

Want to work at Amazon? Keep reading for the Simplify Team's advice on how to land a software internship at one of the largest Big Tech companies!

Michael Yan
Published: (Updated: ) - 7 min read
Michael Yan is the co-founder & CEO of Simplify. Previously a software engineer at Meta, Michael dropped out of Stanford to found Simplify. He is a part-time career coach & Y Combinator alum.

Amazon seeks to hire the best minds in technology to innovate and build on behalf of our customers—i.e., generate a big impact. In their own words, "the intense focus we have on our customers is why we are one of the world’s most beloved brands – customer obsession is part of our company DNA. Amazon employees (even interns) write real software and collaborate with a select group of experienced software development engineers (SDEs on engineering teams) who guide interns on projects that matter to our customers."

Amazon's SDE internship is a prestigious and highly coveted program – with less than 1% of applicants getting the offer. Don't let that number discourage you, in this article, we'll walk through our tips for the application timeline, interview, and more to help you increase your odds of landing an offer to an internship position!

How to Get an Internship at Amazon

As an intern, you will be matched to a manager and a mentor. You will have the opportunity to influence the evolution of Amazon technology and lead mission critical projects early in your career. Amazon interns work on projects that directly impact users – some of the features you've used on some of Amazon's biggest services were written by interns! Positions are available in the United States, Canada, UK, and many other countries. Here are some other fast facts about the internship program:

  • Internship Length: 10-12 weeks
  • Salary: $52.72/hour & housing stipend of $2,425/month + other benefits!
  • Number of Interns: 10,000 (across all roles)
  • Office Locations: Seattle (HQ), San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, Boston & more
  • Application Cycle: Rolling (keep reading to learn how to maximize your chances of landing an offer!)

Beyond working on an impactful project, you will have the opportunity to engage with Amazonians for both personal and professional development, expand your network, and participate in activities with other interns throughout your internship. No matter the location of your internship or the specific role, Amazon's program is built to give you the tools to own your project and are a great way to gain work experience.

What's even more interesting is that many of Amazon's technologies overlap, and you would be hard pressed to find a team that is not using Amazon Web Services (AWS), touching the catalogue, or iterating services to better personalize for customers. There are tons of open positions across the different sectors at Amazon, and technical roles are available in just about every team (including human resources!).

What Experience and Qualifications Do I Need?

Amazon has comparatively few eligibility requirements to apply to their internship opportunities, and they're all pretty standard! To apply you'll need to be currently enrolled in a Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, or majors relating to these fields (the authors applied as math majors).

Amazon prefers students with some previous technical experience – though this is not a hard requirement. Specifically, experience with at least one modern programming language such as Python, Java, or C++, with experience in object-oriented design is a big plus.

What does an Amazon internship involve?

As an intern at Snapchat, you'll have the opportunity to work on real projects and initiatives alongside experienced team members. Interns are often placed in cross-functional teams, which allows them to work closely with different departments and gain a well-rounded understanding of the company. Some of the responsibilities and tasks an intern at Snapchat may involve are:

  • Creating and launching products and features: You'll be a part of the team that is responsible for creating and launching new products and features on the Snapchat platform.
  • Increasing user engagement: Interns may work on projects and initiatives to increase user engagement with the platform and keep users coming back.
  • Supporting brand marketing efforts: Interns might help to develop and execute marketing campaigns, run analytics and measure the impact of these campaigns.
  • Public-facing campaigns: The intern may be involved in creating content, designing and running public-facing campaigns to promote brand and drive traffic.
  • Analyzing data and creating prototypes: You'll be responsible for creating and executing test plans and prototypes, as well as analyzing data to identify areas for improvement and measure the success of different features and campaigns.

Keep in mind that this is a general description and specific responsibilities may vary depending on the team you are placed in and the specific internship program.

When Do Applications Open?

The Amazon application system is rolling, meaning that roles open and close throughout the year, and new roles are created regularly. Generally, the best time to apply is in the summer prior to your academic year, as this is when the majority of roles become available. That said, Amazon is constantly creating new roles, so it's worth checking the website periodically to ensure you don't miss out on any opportunities.

How Can I Apply?

The Amazon application is a two-step process. First, submit an online application with your relevant past work experience, technical skills, and other materials. Amazon will then review your application, and if successful, you will be invited to complete a virtual assessment. The virtual assessment is an online problem-solving and coding challenge – depending on the role, this can include algorithms, data structure, and object-oriented design questions. You will be given 3-4 hours to complete the assessment – so it's important that you manage your time well  and review the questions carefully.

Once you have successfully completed the virtual assessment, Amazon will reach out to schedule a series of interviews. Interviews vary from team to team, but generally contain 1-2 technical interviews and 1-2 behavioral/cultural interviews. The interviews will assess your problem-solving and coding skills, as well as your interpersonal skills, communication style, and values.

What Benefits Can I Expect?

Interns at Amazon receive a competitive salary of $52.72/hour, housing stipend of $2,425/month, and other benefits, such as stock options, healthcare, and employee discounts. Additionally, Amazon interns have access to product managers and engineers from across the company who are available to provide career guidance and mentorship. You will also have opportunities to build your skills such as through participating in Hackathons, meetups, and internal events.

What to Expect from the Interview

Applications for Amazon's SDE internships usually open in June/July, with most people applying within the first few months (September—October). The application process for most software internships—not just Amazon—moves pretty quickly, with most of the events (interviews, technical screens, etc.) happening within the first 3 months of the job opening.

The process for an Amazon interview is pretty straightforward—it consists of an application, two online assessments, and a final round phone interview. The Online Assessments (commonly referred to as OAs), consist of LeetCode-style coding questions—usually 2 per assessment. The final round interview with a hiring manager can vary in nature, but is usually a mixed of behavioral questions and technical interview question. Interviewers are Amazon team members that may also ask non-coding technical questions – like explaining a technical concept to a beginner or talking through how you'd solve a technical problem to demonstrate leadership principles.

Want to maximize your chances of getting an interview? Apply as early as you can (ideally July – August) before the "wave of applicants" flood in during peak internship recruiting season.

Amazon Online Assessments / LeetCode

How should I prepare for the interview? We're glad you asked! There's a great Reddit thread on the Amazon internship program, which we'll summarize here. Most technical interviews (especially for internships) really focus on two key concepts: Data Structures and Algorithms.

To review for Data Structures, brush up on some interviewer favorites like Arrays, Linked Lists, Stack/Queue Trees (Tree, Binary Tree, Binary Search Tree, Red-Black Tree, etc.).

Reviewing for Algorithm questions is similar—sorting algorithms (both comparison sorting and non-comparison sorting), tree traversals (just memorize all of these inorder, preorder, postorder, level order), and general traversals are all great places to start.

For interviews, Amazon allows you to program in any of the following languages: C#, C++, Java, C, Python, Ruby, Swift, and JavaScript. You can feel free to choose whatever language you are most comfortable in – what the interviewers are looking for is mostly the way you think about the problem, as opposed to the syntax of the code you are writing.

A great way to stand out in your interview is to bring up a point of feedback you have on Amazon's product. Not only does this show that you are a user of Amazon, it demonstrates your ability to critically think about the product, which is a great skill to have as both an engineer and product manager.

Bonus: Have an interview coming up? Read our tips on some of the most common behavioral interview questions and how to answer them here!

Types of Positions Amazon Offers

Amazon offers a wide variety of positions for interns. Some of the most popular positions for internships include software development engineer, devops engineer, machine learning engineer, product manager, data scientist, and operations analyst. Internships may also be available in research and development, marketing, operations, finance, human resources, and more!

No matter what  position you are applying for at Amazon, the most important aspect to the process is to be yourself, demonstrate your technical knowledge and skill, and showcase your enthusiasm for Amazon's mission and core values.

How to Secure a Return Offer

One exciting part about interning at Amazon is the opportunity for interns to receive full-time job offers at the end of the internship – called a return offer. Amazon generally extends return offers to about 75% of its interns, a pretty standard rate among big tech companies. Throughout your internship, your manager will give you feedback and performance reviews so you'll know if you're on track to getting a return offer, or need to improve your performance.

Getting a return offer after an internship is a great way to secure a full-time job without having to apply to any positions! Check out our post on what you can send your manager to end off your internship strong!

Get Started With Simplify Today

Amazon has a wonderful careers page that you can find here! Job postings are opening soon, so stay on top of them. Getting an internship is a great way to gaining real-world professional experience, cultivating leadership principles, and developing technical skills.

One drawback to the Amazon application is its length—like most internship applications, the Amazon application is long, and asks for information you've probably entered 100+ times while applying to different roles. Don't worry though, we've got your back – save some time with our free browser extension, which helps you autofill your applications (Amazon and 100,000+ other roles). Best of luck with the job search!